Chronological History of the Discovery of the Aleutian Islands, or the Achievements of Russian Merchants. Includes a Historical Overview on the Fur Trade


Vitus Jonassen Bering (1681‒1741) sailed from Kamchatka to Alaska in the summer of 1741, thereby commanding the first European ship to explore the northwestern coast of North America. The crews of Bering and his assistant, Aleksei Chirikov (1703‒48), returned to Russia with valuable sea otter pelts. The quest for fur soon overtook the initial interest of the state in mapping and acquiring geographic knowledge of the North Pacific. Beginning in 1743, a succession of Russian promyshlenniki (frontiersmen) followed in the wake of Bering by sailing along the Aleutian Islands in search of sea otter furs. This book chronicles the many voyages that began over a century of Russian colonization in Alaska. The book includes data on the number of fur pelts taken per merchant each year and their value in rubles. The author also highlights the history of the fur trade in the ongoing exploration of the Alaskan coast, and notes that the driving force behind voyages to the region was the high pelt quality and abundance of sea otter and other fur-bearing animals. The monograph is thus a compendium of the achievements of key Russian fur traders, beginning with Emilian Basov in 1743. These merchants ultimately succeeded in establishing a quasi-governmental presence for the tsars throughout coastal Alaska, culminating with the noted merchant Grigorii Ivanovich Shelikhov, who in 1784 founded a company on Kodiak Island that later became the Russian-American Company.

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Subject Date

Publication Information

N. Grech, St. Petersburg


Title in Original Language

Хронологическая исторiя открытiя Алеутскихъ острововъ или подвиги Россiйскаго Купечества. Съ присовокупленiемъ Историческаго извѣстiя о мѣховой торговлѣ

Type of Item

Physical Description

169 pages ; 21 centimeters

Last updated: August 17, 2016